If data is at the heart of any modern business, it should be easier to access and manipulate without expertise. While there are many data analytics tools available, including the advanced data science variant and more business-oriented BI tools, it was not easy for someone with little experience to work with data without turning to one of these experts for help.
Recognizing this fundamental problem with data access, the founders of Zing Data set to work building a mobile application that would allow users to get into the data themselves.
Today, the company announced a $2.4 million investment to help build on that basic idea.
Co-founder and CEO Zack Hendlin says they used Figma, a collaborative design program, as their source of inspiration when creating Zing Data. He says collaboration is ingrained because data analytics isn’t typically a solo effort. There are many people involved who need to understand something about how you run your business. Furthermore, the founders wanted to make it mobile so that people could work with data everywhere. Another important principle was that it should be accessible to everyone.
“We said ‘well, what if we could just make that available to everyone right away without them having to know SQL, without having to pay a lot for a license, and without even having to know where to start? “… So that was kind of the genesis, making data simple, accessible and collaborative,” explains Hendlin.
He says you want the data analytics experts in your company to work on tough problems, but too often they’re working on basic questions from business users. Zing Data is designed to let those users answer the basic questions themselves. The way the product works is that you connect it to several popular data sources, including Snowflake, Trino, Google BigQuery, and Google Sheets, as well as databases like Postgres and my MySQL. Once connected, you can choose a specific data set, choose some fields to display, then manipulate the data as you wish, change different aspects to see different views, while sharing the chart with others.
It is available for both iOS and Android users and there is also a web app. You can then share a chart and receive notifications in Slack or by email, as well as in the app when you get comments from your colleagues. The product is free to use for up to 10 employees, but after that they start charging.
Hendlin launched the company last year with longtime friend and co-founder Sabin Thomas, who heads engineering. For a while, they kept their day jobs, building the app on evenings and weekends, but in June of last year, when they had a working product, they decided to go all-in.
Thomas says he believes a product like Zing will thrive even in an economic downturn because it solves a major data access problem. “The solution we are developing now is actually geared to an environment like this. We think there will be more adoption for tools like us. Money-minded companies are rethinking their BI vendor licenses, and we think a solution like ours really fits that bill,” said Thomas.
It is still early days and the company has only three employees, but is currently actively seeking four positions. The founders believe that hiring a diverse workforce is not only the right choice, but also a smart business strategy from a product perspective.
“The multitude of experiences you get, both within the US and outside the US, I think all of that helps you build a better product, a mobile experience, and that’s the most important thing. You know, global adoption has different acceleration rates and we think this will also strengthen the way we build our product, if we can find the right kind of diverse group of employees,” Thomas said.
Today’s $2.4 million seed was led by Kindred Ventures with the participation of Correlation Ventures and several industry angels.